Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog

  • Falling for October

    October 31, 2016

    books on table in woods

    October is the month of apple festivals, family picnics, pumpkin carving, fireside cookouts, bountiful harvests, crisp days and bright fall colors. The summer evenings have gone to sleep while the air is growing wild with energy welcoming the October eves.
    When the pretty leaves carpet the ground and a chill is carried on the wind it’s time to dress in flannel and scarves and cozy socks. The apples and leaves, chimney smokes and pumpkin pies potpourri the air. The sun sets, the fire roars and hot soup, fresh bread and cider are laid on the dinner table. Now this, this is when autumn has settled in and I feel most alive!

    When you think of the fall season, it’s easy to get excited about the holidays, the decoration boxes coming out again, the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and spice and all the delicious foods! Then you have the cozy blankets, when you curl up with a good book by the fire.

    There is such beauty at this time of year with the bright colors and fog reaching over the mountains. Just outside the window when I was living in Portland, Oregon there was a beautiful little stream at the base of tall pines and brightly colored trees. Here’s a picture (sorry its bad lighting),

    3 mos 015

    I now live in Tucson, Arizona at the moment and in October, this is what the landscape looks like,



    (My middle child, Lex insisted on being in the pics)

    It’s not hard to choose which one I’d prefer. I’m not saying the desert doesn’t have its own beauty, because it does, I’m just saying I really really really miss the beauty of the changing leaves (to name one).

    fall leaf

    It’s been said there’s no place more beautiful than New England in Autumn. I mean, just look at the pictures, could you argue?

    Autumn in New EnglandNew England trainbeauty of the earth


    If I could take a walk here, I’d get lost in its beauty with every step. How about you? Doesn’t it just provide great scope for the imagination? My walks wouldn’t be walks, they’d be, as Henry Thorough puts it, “sauntering”. His exact words were, “I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks- who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering.”

     He has described going for walks in more detail in his essay entitled, Walking. Here’s a quote from the essay,

    “But the walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours—as the Swinging of dumb- bells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day. If you would get exercise, go in search of the springs of life. Think of a man’s swinging dumbbells for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far-off pastures unsought by him!”

    For those of you who might not know who Henry Thoreau is, here’s a quick introduction.


    Henry David Thoreau lived from 1817-1862, born and raised in Concord, MA. He was an American poet and author, a philosopher, a surveyor and a historian. He’s famous for several essays and a book entitled “Walden”. He lived simply and loved nature. In his essay entitled, October, or Autumnal Tints, he gives an achingly beautiful fall scene. He writes as though the reader was his walking companion at that very moment, and allows the reader to feel as though they were with him. He goes beyond gorgeous descriptions to making statements about perception itself, not as an abstract subject, but as an ever present, concrete example. He writes in a way that teaches the reader how to see as opposed to what to see. It’s a how to perceive manual so to speak.

    Let me show you. Here are some excerpts of his essay,

    October, or Autumnal Tints

    “October is the month of painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year nears its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight…

    The Red Maple

     By the twenty-fifth of September, the Red Maples generally are beginning to be ripe. Some large ones have been conspicuously changing for a week, and some single trees are now very brilliant. I notice a small one, half a mile off across a meadow, against the green wood-side there, a far brighter red than the blossoms of any tree in summer, and more conspicuous. I have observed this tree for several autumns invariably changing earlier than its fellows, just as one tree ripens its fruit earlier than another. It might serve to mark the season, perhaps. I should be sorry, if it were cut down. I know of two or three such trees in different parts of our town, which might, perhaps, be propagated from, as early ripeners or September trees, and their seed be advertised in the market, as well as that of radishes, if we cared as much about them.

    At present, these burning bushes stand chiefly along the edge of the meadows, or I distinguish them afar on the hill-sides here and (l there. Sometimes you will see many small ones in a swamp turned quite crimson when all other trees around are still perfectly green, and the former appear so much the brighter for it. They take you by surprise, as you are going by on one side, across the fields, thus early in the season, as if it were some gay encampment of the red men, or other foresters, of whose arrival you had not heard.

    Some single trees, wholly bright scarlet, seen against others of their kind still freshly green, or against evergreens, are more memorable than whole groves will be by-and-by. How beautiful, when a whole tree is like one great  fruit full of ripe juices, every leaf from lowest limb to topmost spire, all aglow, especially if you look toward the sun! What more remarkable object can there be in the landscape? Visible for miles, too fair to be believed.

    The Elm

     Now, too, the first of October, or later, the Elms are at the height of their autumnal beauty, great brownish-yellow masses, warm from their September oven, hanging over the highway. Their leaves are perfectly ripe. I wonder if there is any answering ripeness in the lives of the men who live beneath them. As I look down our street, which is lined with them, they remind me both by their form and color of yellowing sheaves of grain, as if the harvest had indeed come to the village itself, and we might expect to find some maturity and flavor in the thoughts of the villagers at last. Under those bright rustling yellow piles just ready to fall on the heads of the walkers, how can any crudity or greenness of thought or act prevail?

    Fallen Leaves

     Down they have come on all sides, at the first earnest touch of autumn’s wand, making a sound like rain…A queen might be proud to walk where these gallant trees have spread their bright cloaks in the mud…The frost touches them, and, with the slightest breath of returning day or jarring of earth’s axle, see in what showers they come floating down!… It is pleasant to walk over the beds of these fresh, crisp, and rustling leaves. How beautifully they go to their graves!


    Let your walks now be a little more adventurous; ascend the hills. If, about the last of October, you ascend any hill in the outskirts of our town, and probably of yours, and look over the forest, you may see well, what I have endeavored to describe… Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them.”

    As I mentioned earlier, I LOVE the fall season! The Autumn feeling I get warms me from the rose in my cheeks to the tinkle of my toes and reaches to my heart of hearts. I love Autumn because the colors are stunning. The air is refreshing. The drinks are warm, the atmosphere is amazing. The movies are scarier. My walks are longer. The ground crunches beneath my feet. The songs are soothing. The clothes are comfier. The pumpkins greet you at every door. The blankets are plentiful, the candles are fragrant, the chimneys smoke.

    Just a few of my favorite things,

    The trees, the colors, the weather!

    The soaps and candles, all the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and spice!

    Hot chocolate and apple ciders, cinnamon rolls and pumpkin bread!

    Reading poetry and great classics, pondering and exploring nature!

    Cozy socks, blankets, fires, and warm drinks!

    Halloween costumes, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pies and parties!

    Flannel, fall colors, and fall fashion!


    flannelfall woodscozy socks by firegirl lying on grass with fall leaves

    All of this has made me want to go out for pumpkin pie and cider!

    Till next time~

    Linda Louise Lotti


    This entry was posted in Articles.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.